Pepsi's Mountain Dew has brewed up a new concoction that it hopes will become the morning drink of choice for millennial males. It's called Kickstart and it comes complete with juice flavors, caffeine and a dollop of vitamins B and C.
A massive ad campaign kicks off Feb. 25 and ad industry insiders say it's built around a "Chasing Sunrise" theme.
"This is an opportunity to drive some loyalty by putting out a comprehensive, differentiated morning solution," said Emily Silver, marketing director at Mountain Dew, as quoted by Advertising Age. And yes, marketing people really do talk like that.
What's she saying, we think, is that Kickstart combines the fruit flavor, vitamins, sugar and caffeine that you would normally get from a small cup of coffee and a glass of juice. That makes it "comprehensive," see?
And then, of course, it's "differentiated" because, well, it's not a cup of coffee or a glass of orange juice. It's something different, if you can consider a can of soda different.
Not just a dream
According to Ms. Silver, this is not just something the marketing folks dreamed up in a Mad Men-like brainstorming session in some modern-day Don Draper's office. She says the company's research found that quite a few millennials were already blending Mountain Dew with fruit juice for their morning pick-me-up.
The Taco Bell chain was already on the case. It was offering a drink called Mountain Dew A.M., a blend of Mountain Dew and Tropicana orange juice.
The appeal of the mixture, apparently, is that it's relatively light yet flavorful. It's not a huge blast of caffeine like an energy drink and not quite as sugary as a full-strength Mountain Dew.
It's also a guy thing, appealing mostly to millennial males, who range in age from about 15 to 30. They're old enough to need a boost in the morning but not yet so decrepit they feel the need to glug down a venti latte or two.
Although we suspect the food police will not be happy with the idea of guzzling carbonated drinks in the morning, Kickstart packs a fairly light punch, just 80 calories compared to 240 in that venti latte with 2% milk. It will supply about 90 milligrams of caffeine in each 16-ounce can, compared to about 330 in a 16-ounce bucket of coffee.
So, whether this is something younger guys are eager to get their hands on remains to be seen. But it's certainly something Pepsi hopes will take off. It is, after all, an "underdeveloped daypart" as one marketing type put it, meaning that most of us don't now quaff soda in the morning.